If you lose a loved one or are hurt as a result of a doctor’s errors, you want to do everything in your power to make the situation right. In most cases, hospitals and doctors do feel the same way, but they also have to protect their interests. Because of that, it’s normal to see patients fighting for compensation through medical malpractice lawsuits or private settlements with the hospital.
Doctors sometimes admit to mistakes they’ve made that caused fatalities. The stories of what could go wrong are important, because they suggest what people can do to help prevent such serious accidents in the future.
To start with, all doctors make mistakes. They start with little in the way of experience, and it takes years to build the knowledge that older doctors have. Despite that, it’s not acceptable to make mistakes that cause injuries or fatalities. One doctor admitted to making an error by transferring a patient who needed care in the Intensive Care Unit. According to his story, he hadn’t slept in over 24 hours and hadn’t eaten recently. He chose to move the patient to make room for more, but it was the wrong decision. When he realized that removing the patient’s breathing tube was causing the patient’s oxygen level to drop, he quickly tried to reinsert it, but when the patient vomited and had extreme swelling in the throat, it took longer than expected. The patient could have had serious brain damage, but fortunately, he awoke with no ill effects.
This was a life-and-death situation. Many like this occur all the time. If there is a standardized checklist for procedures, it could help anesthesiologists, doctors, surgeons and others communicate better to prevent incidents like above. It would give them more information to make better decisions and to prevent patient injuries.
Source: Reader’s Digest, “Doctors Confess Their Fatal Mistakes,” Joe Kita, April 24, 2018